Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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The Edge of the Plates

The Edge of the Plates | Geography Education |

"Tomales Bay lies about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of San Francisco, along the edges of two tectonic plates that are grinding past each other. The boundary between them is the San Andreas Fault, the famous rift that partitions California for hundreds of miles. To the west of the Bay is the Pacific plate; to the east is the North American plate. The rock on the western shore of the Bay is granite, an igneous rock that formed underground when molten material slowly cooled over time. On the opposite shore, the land is a mix of several types of marine sedimentary rocks. In Assembling California, John McPhee calls that side “a boneyard of exotica,” a mixture of rock of 'such widespread provenance that it is quite literally a collection from the entire Pacific basin, or even half of the surface of the planet.'"


Tags: geomorphologyremote sensing, tectonics, geology, Californiacoastal, physical.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, 22 September 2017, 11:28
Geomorphic processes
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Tsunami Stones: Ancient Japanese Markers Warn Builders of High Water

Tsunami Stones: Ancient Japanese Markers Warn Builders of High Water | Geography Education |

"Residents of Aneyoshi, Japan, heeded the warnings of their ancestors. They obeyed directions and wisdom found on a local stone monument: 'Do not build any homes below this point,' it reads. 'High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants. Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis.' When the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, this village."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Beachfront property is beautiful real estate with enormous economic potential, but when it is in an area with a history of tsunamis, the impending threat of an earthquake looms over the coastal lowlands and limits the land use plans for the region. 


Tags: physical, tsunami, water, tectonics, disasters.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, 31 December 2016, 06:19
Geographical Concepts: Spatial Significance, Patterns and Trends, 
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A Decades-Long Quest to Drill Into Earth's Mantle May Soon Hit Pay Dirt

A Decades-Long Quest to Drill Into Earth's Mantle May Soon Hit Pay Dirt | Geography Education |
Geologists have had to contend with bad luck, budget cuts and the race to the moon in their efforts to drill deep into our planet


Tags: physical, tectonics, geology.

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Tsunami Animation

"The largest earthquake ever recorded by instruments struck southern Chile on May 22, 1960. This 9.5 magnitude earthquake generated a tsunami that crossed the Pacific Ocean, killing as many as 2000 people in Chile and Peru, 61 people in Hilo, Hawaii, and 142 people in Japan as well as causing damage in the Marquesas Islands (Fr. Polynesia), Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, and in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.  To see how this tsunami compares with two recent tsunamis from Chile, please watch "

Tags: physical, geomorphologywater, tectonics, disasters, video.

Seth Dixon's insight:

In 1700, Japan was hit by a tsunami; they knew that tsunamis were caused by earthquakes, but there was no earthquake of that magnitude in Japan that could have caused it.  They called it the Orphan Tsunami, and it puzzled everyone.  Centuries later, data confirmed that a massive earthquake in the Pacific Northwest occurred in 1700 and it's tsunami traveled across the ocean much like the this computer simulation of the 1960 Chile earthquake.   

Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, 25 September 2015, 02:23

Tsunami ocurrido en Chile el 22 de Mayo de 1960 donde murieron 2000 personas en Chile y Perú, 61 en Hilo Hawaii, 142 en Japón causando daños en Islas Marquesas Polinesia , Samoa, Nueva Zelanda, Australia, Filipinas, Alaska's Islas Aleutianas.....enlace para ver la comparación con el Tsunamis recientes en Chile (2015)

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Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire | Geography Education |
The Ring of Fire is a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity, or earthquakes, around the edges of the Pacific Ocean.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Ring of Fire is a series of plate boundaries where earthquakes and volcanic activity are commonplace.  Surrounding the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the Ring of Fire consists of a string of 452 volcanoes.

Tags physical, tectonics, disasters, K12.

Loreto Vargas's curator insight, 2 July 2015, 15:07

“El Anillo de Fuego” es una cadena de volcanes y lugares de actividad sísmica, o temblores, alrededor de los límites del Océano Pacífico.

“L’Anneau de Feu” c’est une chaine de volcans et de sites d’activité sismique, ou tremblements de terre, autour de limites de l’Océan Pacifique.

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Why Earthquakes Are Devastating Nepal

Why Earthquakes Are Devastating Nepal | Geography Education |
The May 12 7.3 magnitude aftershock was one of many that followed the April 25 earthquake that shook Nepal. Why is this part of the world such a hotbed of tectonic activity?
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is in a series by National Geographic designed to show the geography behind the current events--especially geared towards understanding the physical geography.  Check out more videos in the '101 videos' series here.   


Tags physicalNational Geographic, tectonics, disasters, video.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, 21 May 2015, 14:44

Summer reading, tectonic plates

Chris Costa's curator insight, 30 November 2015, 14:16

Geography determines human activity, and not the other way around; that has been the theme of this course, and it holds true as we look at the devastating impacts of earthquakes in the nation of Nepal. Sitting right over one of the most active plate boundaries in the world, with the Indian subcontinent being violently forced under the rest of Asia, Nepal is therefore the home of both the infamous Himalayan Mountains and numerous earthquakes, varying in severity and frequency. As violent and as costly as they are, violent earthquakes are just another part of life in Nepal, as are other natural events in other parts of the globe, and the people who call it home adjust their lives accordingly, through a variety of means. However, nothing can prepare anyone for the extremes of earth's power, and the violent earthquake that shook the nation to its very core in May has left behind a great deal of human suffering and destruction. I hope that those who lost their homes and businesses are already well along on their path to recovery, although I don't think it's possible to every truly heal from such a traumatic experience, at least not completely.

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How 'crisis mapping' is helping relief efforts in Nepal

How 'crisis mapping' is helping relief efforts in Nepal | Geography Education |
A team of Nepalis, backed by groups around the world, are helping guide what aid is needed where by "crisis mapping" Nepal, reports Saira Asher.

Tags: Nepal, disasters, physical, tectonics, mapping, geospatial.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, 8 May 2015, 15:16

Crisis are a symptom that something underneath the surface of normalcy is terribly wrong ... especially when we come to realize that everything is interconnected, even politics—worldwide.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, 22 March 2018, 15:09
This is a great example of how using technology  can benefit people. In Nepal, in which they are an area where they can get many earthquakes, they used "crisis maps" to their advantage.  First off as the article state Nepal is a very difficult country to navigate and especially after the earthquake with roads being destroyed it could make it nearly impossible. With people in dire need of supplies they had to get creative. So here they used a software system called "OpenStreetMap."   It is, as described in the article, a Wikipedia for mapmakers. Basically, anyone can add to the map from an amateur to a professional map maker. By allowing everyone to help they were able to make more accurate maps and faster ways to reach someone that had a need for supplies, these became the crisis maps that they would use. Going into the future this software will continue to be important in Nepal as you can constantly edit the maps and continue to find better and more efficient ways to get to place to place. Other countries with these issues should look towards Nepal and take preemptive  action so that when a disaster does strike they will be ready and will not lose valuable  time right after a disaster. A very interesting article in which I did not previously know much about. 
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Help the Nepal Aid Effort By Making a Map

Help the Nepal Aid Effort By Making a Map | Geography Education |
Become one of the citizen cartographers around the globe tracing and checking roads, buildings, and open spaces to assist people on the ground.
Seth Dixon's insight:

If you want to help Nepal, you can donate time and geospatial abilities by helping provide workers with better maps.  This is probably one of the easier on-ramps to collaborative mapping, and the help is desperately needed.  You can also have students explore the Nepal earthquake in ArcGIS online; this has become a 'teachable moment' and  IRIS provides powerpoint slides for teachers to this example in the classroom.

Tags: Nepal, disasters, physical, tectonics, mapping, geospatial.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, 1 May 2015, 21:05

This is a great effort.  You do have to take the tutorial to learn how to map for them.  Some of the images aren't very clear either.  It would seem to me that the government should provide high quality images from satellites.  I'm sure they have better images.  Also, many of the highly populated areas were completed.  The periphery seemed like it could use more help.  

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Earth's tectonic plates skitter about

Earth's tectonic plates skitter about | Geography Education |

"Geoscientists have unveiled a computer model that maps the details of that tectonic dance in 1-million-year increments—practically a frame-by-frame recap of geologic time. It shows that the plates speed up, slow down, and move around in unexpectedly short bursts of activity. It also suggests that researchers may have to rethink what drives much of that incessant motion.  The new model shows that although plates usually creep along at an average speed of about 4 centimeters per year, some can reach much faster speeds in short sprints. For example, India, which broke off the east coast of Africa about 120 million years and is now plowing into Asia, reached speeds as high as 20 centimeters per year for a relatively brief 10 million years."

Tagstectonicsphysicalgeomorphology, video.

Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, 27 April 2015, 22:52

"Los geocientíficos han dado a conocer un modelo de computadora que asigna los detalles de esa danza tectónico en 1 millón de años incrementos de una recapitulación fotograma a fotograma de tiempo geológico. Esto demuestra que las placas aceleran, frenan, y se mueven alrededor de pequeños estallidos de actividad. también sugiere que los investigadores pueden tener que repensar lo que impulsa gran parte de ese movimiento incesante. El nuevo modelo muestra que, aunque por lo general se arrastran a lo largo de las placas a una velocidad media de unos 4 centímetros por año, algunos pueden alcanzar velocidades mucho más rápidas en carreras cortas. Por ejemplo, la India, que estalló frente a la costa oriental de África a unos 120 millones de años y ahora está arando en Asia, alcanza velocidades de hasta 20 centímetros por año durante un tiempo relativamente breves 10 millones años ".

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Imagining Continental Drift

"This animated documentary tells the story of polar explorer Alfred Wegener, the unlikely scientist behind continental drift theory."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While plate tectonics is now universally accepted, when Alfred Wegener first proposed continental drift it was it was greeted with a great deal of skepticism from the academic community.  This video nicely shows how scientific advancement requires exploration and imagination, and whole lot of heart.   

Tagstectonicsphysicalgeomorphology, K12STEM, video.

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How One Woman's Discovery Shook the Foundations of Geology

How One Woman's Discovery Shook the Foundations of Geology | Geography Education |
Without ever setting sail, Marie Tharp mapped the ocean floor and made a discovery that shook the foundations of geology. So why did the giants of her field dismiss her findings as “girl talk"?
Seth Dixon's insight:

I love this article, because it is a fantastic reminder of some excellent principles. 

  1. Women in science are awesome and we need to encourage girls in STEM disciplines. 
  2. Mapping the unknown can lead to shocking discoveries. 
  3. Underlying grand discoveries is tedious work with unexciting data. 
  4. It wasn't too long ago that we didn't understand foundational principles about the Earth (such as plate tectonics). 

Tags: tectonicsphysical, mapping, cartography, 201, statistics, STEM.

Prof. Hankell's curator insight, 19 December 2014, 14:27

Marie Tharp v Experts...

Marianne Naughton's curator insight, 20 December 2014, 16:32

Marie's Ocean Discoveries ...  

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Yellowstone National Park rattled by largest earthquake in 34 years

Yellowstone National Park rattled by largest earthquake in 34 years | Geography Education |

"Yellowstone National Park, which sits atop one of the world's largest super-volcanoes, was struck on Sunday by a magnitude 4.8 earthquake, the biggest recorded there since February 1980, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The amazing geothermal activity in Yellowstone National park annually brings thousands of tourists to the region.  The reason why these geysers, hot springs and fumaroles are there is because of the what is just below the surface.  Watch a video (the 2 minute version or a 44 minute version) to see why this natural wonder is also a major geologic threat for earthquake and volcanic activity, which explains the reasons for this weekend's earthquake.   Not to be an alarmist, but this is why some fear another major eruption soon.

CSINowedu's curator insight, 31 March 2014, 14:23

Yellowstone National Park, which sits atop one of the world's largest super-volcanoes, was struck on Sunday by a magnitude 4.8 earthquake, the biggest recorded there since February 1980, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

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Real-time Earthquake Map

Real-time Earthquake Map | Geography Education |
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, responsible for monitoring, reporting, and researching earthquakes and earthquake hazards...


This map represents the 1079 earthquakes with magnitudes higher than 2.5 that have occured in the last 30 days.  You can customize the map to display different data at any scale.  There is detailed information about each earthquake in this great dataset. 

Trisha Klancar's comment, 18 August 2012, 13:33
I've used this often and kids love it. It is visual and allows them to realize what is happening at that very moment and PERHAPS gets them to see the world doesn't revolve around them! hee,hee
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Is Zealandia the eighth continent?

"A group of geologists say they've enough evidence to confirm the existence of a new continent. Writing in the journal of the Geological Society of America, the group named the eighth continent 'Zealandia.' Scientists argue for an 8th continent, Zealandia, in the Geological Society of America."

Seth Dixon's insight:

What makes a continent a continent? There is no set definition of a continent. Some consider cultural groupings and would consider Europe as a separate continent from Asia as a consequence. Geologists consider continental shelves as the defining characteristics of a continent and thus consider Eurasia to be just one continent. We are so accustomed to seeing the coastlines, but if the ocean were drained, we'd see Zealandia and it's ancient confidential shelf--but don't expect all the continental maps in elementary schools to change anytime soon.


Questions to Ponder: Does human geography or physical geography determine what you consider a continent?  How come?       


Tags: physical, tectonics, geologyregions, Oceania.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, 13 April 2017, 15:59
unit 1
David Stiger's curator insight, 7 December 2018, 14:16
With 94% of Zealandia lying under water, most average people around the world will not care if National Geographic prints maps with an eighth continent. As cynical as that may be, geography should not be settled by human emotions and cultural expectations. Geography is a discipline that aims for understanding and precision. If continents are to be decided by continental shelves, rather than human cultural and ethnic patterns, then Eurasia is a continent and so is Zealandia. This latter outlook of focusing on physical geography is far more neutral and scientific. I would argue that is also more 'progressive'. Humans originate from one place (Africa) and are all one species. We have far more similarities than differences. Orienting our worldview to see that cultural geography is not the final arbiter of truth would ultimately bring people together. The logic follows that by acknowledging Zealandia, there is precedent for greater accuracy based on science, allowing geographers to teach about Eurasia. This is significant because it would alter the perception that Asians and Europeans are extremely distinct and separate groups due to a distorted notion that they lived on separate continents. The truth is that both groups existed on the same continent and were often brought into contact with each other throughout history. This idea, however, would further shatter the notion of a "pure, homogeneous Europe." Europe is only a "continent" because white Europeans were the first to possess the right combination of "guns, germs, and steel" to conquer other societies and elevate their own group's cultural status. Despite nature's evidence, Europeans awarded themselves an entire continent. In reality, Europe is a large peninsula of Asia. Just as Zealandia is an eighth continent sleeping underneath the waves. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, 12 December 2018, 21:45
This is interesting to think about. What decides what separates continents, is it geological barriers, is it culture, is it ethnic origin, or maybe even plate tectonics? Either way you look at it New Zealand makes a great case for why they could become to be considered the eighth continent. I could argue either way, to keep it simple and go by culture and geological commonalities (Oceania Islands) I would prefer it does not form its own continent. These geologist would argue otherwise.
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New Zealand quake lifted seabed by 2m

New Zealand quake lifted seabed by 2m | Geography Education |
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island lifted up the seabed by two metres, pushing it above the ocean’s surface.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Plates on the Earth's crust typically move forward at very slowly (about the same speed as the fingernail growth).  While that is the usual, plates snag along the edges and pressure can build over the years, only to lead to explosive, quick changes like happened recently in New Zealand.  This complex series of tremors has people disconnected as much of the physical infrastructure has be damaged


Tags: New Zealandphysical, tectonicstransportation, geology, geomorphology.

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Thousands of Earthquakes Recorded in Puget Sound in Just Two Weeks

Thousands of Earthquakes Recorded in Puget Sound in Just Two Weeks | Geography Education |
Residents can't feel most of them, but there have been a lot of earthquakes in Puget Sound lately.


Tags: disasters, physical, tectonics.

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The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle

The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle | Geography Education |
When the giant fault line along the Pacific Northwest ruptures, it could be our worst natural disaster ever.

The Cascadia subduction zone remained hidden from us for so long because we could not see deep enough into the past. It poses a danger to us today because we have not thought deeply enough about the future. The Cascadia situation, a calamity in its own right, is also a parable for this age of ecological reckoning, and the questions it raises are ones that we all now face. How should a society respond to a looming crisis of uncertain timing but of catastrophic proportions? How can it begin to right itself when its entire infrastructure and culture developed in a way that leaves it profoundly vulnerable to natural disaster?

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a long read but well worth the time. "The really big one," an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest over 8.0, last happened in 1700, but seismologists know that the geological pressure on the fault lines have been building since then.  This in not a panic-inducing article, but one reminding people that the most potent natural disasters operate on cycles much longer than our lifetimes.    

Tags: disasters, physical, tectonics.

David Stiger's curator insight, 12 September 2018, 17:24
Thanks to advancements in technology and dedicated researchers who often forgo glory and fame, Americans are now aware of another impending natural disaster that is likely to ruin the lives of so many of our fellow citizens. This article reminded me of the impending doom of climate change and the resulting ecocide. So many of us, even people who put faith in religion, trust scientific discovery enough to acknowledge that these are realities we face as a society. Not all of us are totally brainwashed to dismiss this a secular, liberal hoax. Despite this awareness, not much - if anything - is being done to address or prepare for the awaiting earthquake and tsunami. This fact affirms that the United States' population is largely out-of-touch with reality. In a fantasy world, like ours, we are too special and superior (perhaps chosen by destiny or God) to suffer such a drastic and radically dreadful experience of nature. The delusion prevents us from acting sooner, rather than later. What comes to mind is the Netherlands as they train their population and renovate their urban centers to flow with the tides of climate change. They have the knowledge (like we do) but the difference is they have embraced it and in a communal way have decided to take action. These Europeans are adapting to their situation. This sheds light on the irony of the United States; a powerful, resource rich, skilled, and highly capable country that is falling a part because of what? Greed for wealth? Selfishness? Dare-I-say foolishness? Maybe it is indifference in an age of modernity - devoid of true human connection but full of technological bliss and distraction?  Add the Cascadia subduction zone to modernity's doom list now including unsustainable wealth inequality, overextended military policies, climate change complacency/denial, mass incarceration, obesity, mass shootings, a post-fact world, and an Opioid health epidemic. These are BIG problems that need bold strokes. Simply put, many people with wealth and power do not feel a connection to their countrymen and countrywomen to allow a government - acting on behalf of the masses - to do something. And, that is a key link. Businesses seeking to make a profit do not want regulations and adaptation to interfere. The cost of addressing these problems is a potential loss of money-making as consumers modify their behavior and new policies require more funding through taxes. 

As this article relates to geography and my aforementioned class-warfare rant: the Earth is indisputably a complex planetary system that has always been totally indifferent to human wants and needs. The planet has no obligation or will to act in our best human interests. We, as a people, must respond to the planet. When it shakes, we must brace or move. In other words, we must take action or experience the consequences of inaction. Crony capitalism, excessive wealth, and a government held hostage by corporate interests which prioritize profit over people are serious hurtles. The wealthy and powerful should realize that they need US - the 90% of people that lack significant amounts of disposable income. 90% is a large chunk of civilization! There is no wealth and prosperity if there is no healthy civilization on which to build a business or exercise entrepreneurial abilities. It is time to confront greed by recognizing our collective humanity - a humanity shaped and informed by geographically determined experiences. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, 30 September 2018, 00:48
An insightful and honestly, scary article. Discussing the inevitable earthquake that would devastate the pacific northwest, but not knowing when it could occur makes me never want to even visit. The Cascadia earthquake which could or more likely would send a tsunami straight into Oregon. Learning from the Seaside, Oregon superintendent that three of the four schools under his charge will go from five to fifteen feet above sea level to as much as forty-five below would shake anyone to their core. So what has the state done to remedy this? Nothing, unfortunately. With no Early-warning system, he describes how one elementary school will be trapped, as they will have no escape. With the growing ocean waters on one side and a roadless bog on the other, these students have nowhere safe to go. This reminds me of the question, would you rather know how you will die or when you will die? Waiting with no clue when the impending doom will occur until it happens is too much for me. I recommend get out now and get out quick unless the state figures out a warning system, then just get out quick.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, 14 December 2018, 04:00
Yes, we have some serious earthquakes on the San Andres fault and in Japan but we're overlooking the one along the  Pacific Northwest. An out roar has to be made for people to be more notified of the Cascadia subduction zone, so people can prepare for tragedy. We need to realize that the way these plates move can make a major ripple effect on our way of life. 
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Plate Tectonics and the Formation of Central America and the Caribbean

This animation is made from a time series of maps reconstructing the movements of continental crust or blocks, as South America pulled away from North America, starting 170 million years ago. Note that South America is still clinging to Africa at the beginning of the series.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The land bridge connecting North and South America is hardly permanent (on a geological time scale that is).  This video is an animated version of the still maps from this article.  

Tags: Mexico, tectonicsphysical, video, Middle America.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, 8 February 2018, 20:24
The animation in this video depicts how Central America and the Caribbean’s landforms came to be.  What is interesting is that about 170 million years ago, Africa and South America were part of the same land mass and today Africa is pretty far away from South America.  This means that there are probably similar geographic features on the two continents, like rocks or soil, despite the distance between them now.  That may contribute to people being able to grow similar crops in the two areas that are oftentimes seen as so different.  The western part of South America, specifically Central America seems to have been pulled apart from North America.  This means that these two continents may share geographic features as well.  Although regions may seem like they are separated by great lengths and should be dissimilar from each other, that is not the case- as the tectonic plates are constantly shifting the way the earth’s surface looks.  It’s hard to think that the earth was ever different than it is today and how such large land masses could possibly move so far.  This animation does a good job of exemplifying the great effect that tectonic plates actually have.
Nicole Canova's curator insight, 9 February 2018, 22:36
It's interesting to see how the earth's surface has changed over time.  It's also strange to see that at one point the Americas were so compact, and that Africa was attached to both North and South America.  Although these tectonic shifts take place over the course of millions of years, this video makes me wonder what the globe will look like in another million years, or another 100 million years.  I'm sure the continents will be in a new configuration as unrecognizable as they were 170 million years ago.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, 15 December 2018, 04:24
It is fascinating to see how South and Central America has formed into what we know today. A nice view of what was once attached to Africa is now a distant past and can still see some similarities.  It's nice to see how our world today was formed million of years ago. 
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Motion of Tectonic Plates

"This video is from the BBC documentary film Earth: The Power Of The Planet.  The clip is also embedded in this story map that tells the tale of Earth’s tectonic plates, their secret conspiracies, awe-inspiring exhibitions and subtle impacts on the maps and geospatial information we so often take for granted as unambiguous."

Tags physical, tectonics, disasters, mapping, geospatialmapping, video, ESRI.

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How to Donate Time to Help in Nepal

How to Donate Time to Help in Nepal | Geography Education |

"How 'crisis mappers' activate after a catastrophe...and how you can join them."

Tags: Nepal, disasters, physical, tectonics, mapping, geospatial.

Yunus Khan's comment, 7 May 2015, 07:10
God save nepal people
Katie's curator insight, 22 May 2015, 17:37

In Nepal, there was recently an earthquake. Crisis mappers have been working on better mapping data. Better mapping data increases the quality of imagery. Better mapping data greatly helps reduce suffering and saves lives. This is an example of how to use maps and geospatial data.  

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An earthquake felt across South Asia

An earthquake felt across South Asia | Geography Education |

"The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday morning destroyed parts of Kathmandu, trapped many people under rubble and killed more than 2,500 people. It was the worst to hit the country since a massive 1934 temblor killed more than 8,000."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Even though we know that with the plate tectonic boundaries where these disasters are more likely to occur, it never fully is expected.  These before and after pictures are heart-rending and full the extent of the damage is hard to comprehend (explore in ArcGIS online or view the USGS data).  IRIS provides powerpoint slides for teachers to use this earthquake as a 'teachable moment.'

Geographer Jon Kedrowski has a blog about his mountaineering and expeditions. He is up on Everest now, and his blog has a description of the earthquake and the resulting avalanche. The pictures and descriptions are both sobering and fascinating.  If you want to help, you can donate money or your geospatial abilities (open-source mapping).

*This post was prepared in collaboration with Dr. Deborah Hann of the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education.

Tags: Nepal, disasters, physical, tectonics.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, 29 April 2015, 16:04

It's absolutely devastating what happened to Nepal. Any loss of life is a tragedy but loss of this scale is unimaginable. It's going to be a difficult rebuilding process for the Nepalese whether that's coping with the loss or physically rebuilding the nation.


Watching footage of shakes, what struck me the most was hundreds of year old temples crumbling. Those just aren't something you can easily rebuild. The building can eventually be replaced but the significance of it is almost lost. 


Those temples, like the homes in the area, were most likely not built up to a standard that could withstand earthquakes or at least earthquakes of this magnitude. It's easy to see how destruction on this scale can occur in large urban populations that were not designed to stand against such a dramatic event.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, 1 May 2015, 20:59

I've experienced earthquakes more times than I've ever felt the need.  We used to get them all the time it seemed in Japan.  My bed would role across the room.  It got to the point where I just slept through them.  If I had even felt a shake half as violent as what Nepal went through I could not even imagine the fright.  I wonder how long the India and Eurasia tectonic plates will stay on top of each other?  Or if a few more earth quakes will split the area?  

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, 1 June 2015, 06:52

Australian Curriculum

The causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard (ACHGK053)

GeoWorld 8

Chapter 4: Hazards: causes, impacts and responses

(4.5 - 4.6 Earthquakes)

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Nepal earthquake: Hundreds die, many feared trapped

Nepal earthquake: Hundreds die, many feared trapped | Geography Education |
At least 970 people have died as Nepal suffered its worst earthquake for more than 80 years, with deaths also reported in India, Tibet and Bangladesh.

Tags: Nepal, disasters, physical, tectonics.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, 18 November 2015, 17:48

We have learned that the Himalayas are growing everyday while our Appalachians in the united states are shrinking. What does this all mean? In the platonic spectrum it means in Nepal, earthquakes.

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Town Slowly deformed by Plate Tectonics

Town Slowly deformed by Plate Tectonics | Geography Education |

"The signs that something’s wrong are not immediately obvious, but, once you see them, it’s hard to tune them out. Curbs at nearly the exact same spot on opposite sides of the street are popped out of alignment. Houses too young to show this kind of wear stand oddly warped, torqued out of sync with their own foundations, their once-strong frames off-kilter. This is Hollister, California, a town being broken in two slowly, relentlessly, and in real time by an effect known as 'fault creep.' A slow, surreal tide of deformation has appeared throughout the city."

Tags: disasters, geomorphologyCalifornia, physical.

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Earthquakes in the Classroom

"An 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern Chile, generating a local tsunami.  The USGS reported the earthquake was centered 95 km (59 miles) northwest of Iquique at a depth of 20.1km (12.5 miles).  This video gives the context for this type of earthquake."  

Seth Dixon's insight:

I woke up this morning to news of a large earthquake in Chile (security camera video footage).  IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) creates teaching resources for teachers who want to use the current events such as yesterday's earthquake in Chile as an opportunity to discuss earth's physical systems and how they impact humanity.  They've produces slides, animations and PDFs for classroom use all while you were sleeping last night.  

Tags: visualization, disasters, physical, Chile.

dilaycock's curator insight, 3 April 2014, 07:02

From Seth Dixon: 

 "IRIS(Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) creates teaching resources for teachers who want to use the current events such as yesterday's earthquake in Chile as an opportunity to discuss earth's physical systems and how they impact humanity.  They've produces slides, animations and PDFs for classroom use all while you were sleeping last night."  

Geofreak's curator insight, 3 April 2014, 18:37

Hoe ontstond deze tsunami precies?

Ms. Harrington's curator insight, 5 April 2014, 15:52


Lesson Plans from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Tsunami in Japan 2011

"This video captures some amazing footage of the 2011 tsunami in Japan."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an absolutely gripping video, that is equally amazing and horrifying.  In Kesennuma, Japan, the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused catastrophic damage, although many were able to survive on the high-rise rooftop (like the videographer).  Much like a tsunami, the video starts out slow with only alarm bells, but at around the 2:20 minute mark the first sign of the small wave makes its way up the river, with onlookers unsure of the magnitude of the impending damage.  The riverbanks are breached at 7:43.  By 14 minutes, the debris and wreckage is massive, and the quantity of water flooding in is still growing.  The last 6 minutes shows the waters receding, but the impact of the tsunami still spreads as fires spread through town. For a full documentary on the tsunami, click here.  I surely hope that no one reading ever gets a closer look at what a tsunami looks like in person.  This time lapse is an audiovisual representation of global seismic activity puts the Japanese tsunami into it proper context (wait for the dramatic event at the 1:45 mark).

Tags: Japan, East Asia, disasters, geomorphology, erosion.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, 4 May 2014, 00:17

Most people do not realize the sheer power of a tsunami. It has the force of the entire ocean depth behind each wave. It also pours onto land for hours until it stops then pours back into the ocean for another hour or so. Most people killed are killed by objects such as cars and buildings crushing them. Seeing videos such as these can help people get a better idea of the forces actually involved and maybe save lives.

Jess Deady's curator insight, 5 May 2014, 02:33

I hope something like this never happens again. Tsunamis are unreal. They are literally horrifying and to see something like this captured on camera is actually really scary. Damn plate tectonics and people living on the water front.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, 20 April 2015, 18:52

So, I will never forget this morning because my brother was living in Japan at the time and I remember getting a text from him saying "we are ok."  My brother is a bit of a jokester so I figured he had something up his sleeve, however, when I woke up and heard of the destruction, I was so relieved to know he and his family were safe.  For the next month my brother flew rescue missions and brought water and food to the survivors.  He had taken hundred of pictures, and I was able to witness first hand how devastating the tsunami had been.  My heart still goes out to those people, and I am forever grateful that my brother is alive and well.